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The Mystery of the Yellow Room

(Joseph Rouletabille #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,345 ratings  ·  553 reviews
The young lady had just retired to her room when sounds of a struggle ensue, and cries of "Murder!" and revolver shots ring out. When her locked door is finally broken down by her father and a servant, they find the woman on the floor, badly hurt and bleeding. No one else is in the room. There is no other exit except through a barred window. How did the attacker escape?
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 7th 2006 by Dover Publications (first published 1907)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  7,345 ratings  ·  553 reviews

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Pramod Nair
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, classics, crime
The Mystery of the Yellow Room, by Gaston Leroux, originally written in French as ‘Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune’, in 1908 is the first book featuring the fictional reporter and amateur sleuth, Joseph Rouletabille. With The Mystery of the Yellow Room, Gaston Leroux – who is best known for his novel The Phantom of the Opera - popularized an entire subgenre of detective fiction named as ‘locked room mystery’ and this work is often regarded as one of the finest in this genre.

The book literally
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok

I thought this book would never finish!
It was one of those stories in which there are no clues for the reader and the reader feels stupid and confused and the other characters in the book also are dense and don’t see what’s in front of them and ask stupid questions when the brilliant detective/journalist sheds light on something. Let’s say the detective says “the culprit went this way!”. His companion asks “how do you know that?” Dude, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see there are
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
The Mystery of the Yellow Room is a "locked room mystery" novels written by Gaston Leroux. Having read only his famous Phantom of the Opera, I was surprised to learn that he has authored books in "mystery" genre. However, knowing the Leroux's capacity to create so dark and villainous characters, I was very much inclined to read this work which is the first novel introducing the reporter/detective Joseph Rouletabille.

A murder was attempted in a closed room and the perpetrator has fled leaving
The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux is hailed as one of the first locked room crime novels. It has been named by some as the third best locked room mystery of all time. John Dickson Carr, master of the locked room and impossible crime himself, has sung its praises. And it is credited with inspiring Agatha Christie to try her hand at her very first mystery. So--what do I, a mere book-blogger, have to say about it? Well, it's a decent mystery. It's got some interesting elements. But I ...more
Jess Penhallow
This was a fun short mystery book. After reading this I am surprised that Gaston Leroux is mainly known for The Phantom of the Opera because this book is much better. His detached writing style with reports, transcripts and diary entries works much better in the mystery genre than in the horror genre where it just took away from the suspense. Here it is appropriate in that it sets out the facts plainly for the reader to interpret and try and solve the mystery.

Joseph Routabille is an endearing
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, fiction, mystery
Finally I brought myself to finish the lauded short novel 'The Mystery of the Yellow Room' by Gaston Leroux. It is hailed as one of the most original works of mystery fiction written and has been named as one of the pioneers of the locked room genre. We are introduced to the young journalist Joseph Rouletabille who throws himself into the investigation of a mysterious murder at Chateau du Glandier. A murder that takes place in a room that has been locked from the inside with no possible means of ...more

A locked room mystery which does not involve a murder, this 1907 French novel was written by the writer who gave The Phantom of the Opera to the world. It contains red herrings aplenty and a rather annoying detective: a smart-alecky 18 year old pipe-smoking genius who works as a journalist. The narrator is Dr Watson to his Sherlock Holmes - a stand-in for the reader who is there to have plot points explained in a way that the most obtuse can understand. There is little to no character
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing story! Dense, but ingenious. I really enjoyed it!
Nancy Oakes
First written in 1908, The Mystery of the Yellow Room is considered one of the classics of the "locked-room"/impossible crime genre. Believe me, by the time you finish reading about the crime (never mind the rest of the book), you'll be scratching your head saying "how on earth did this just happen?"

It seems that one Mathilde Stangerson goes off to her room (called The Yellow Room) in a pavilion where she and her father work at scientific experiments. The door is locked -- then she is heard to
James Hold
Dec 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Zero stars, actually. According to the back cover, John Dickson Carr called this 'The best detective story ever written', while Arnold Bennett labeled it 'The most dazzlingly brilliant detective story I have ever read.' Clearly opinions differ. I found it long-winded, repetitious, and boring. The hero, Joe Roulette Table, rivals Hercule Poirot as perhaps the most annoyingly conceited, self-centered jerk ever to exist. Lord Peter Wimsey runs a close third. It reads as if Leroux assembled a locked ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, classics, crime
Brilliantly baffling...

Mademoiselle Mathilde Stangerson is attacked in her yellow bedroom by a murderer wielding a mutton-bone. When her father and the other people in the house break down the door, Mlle S is on the floor and her murderer is nowhere to be found. There are three exceedingly strange things about this – one: how did the murderer get out of a room in which the only door and window were securely locked; and two: why does everyone keep calling him a murderer when Mlle S is still
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
This classic locked room mystery is by the author of The Phantom of the Opera. The Mystery of the Yellow Room is the first in Leroux's eight book Joseph Rouletabille series. Young Joseph is a journalist (as was Leroux before he was able to support himself as an author). Joseph is quite an entertaining lad.

I had a problem keeping all of the characters straight, but still found it an enjoyable read, although a bit too complicated for my taste.

Read it at or
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
"The Mystery of the Yellow Room"is a novel by Gaston Leroux first published in France in the periodical L'Illustration from September 1907 to November 1907, then in book form in 1908. My copy says it is one of the first locked room mystery crime fiction novels which is going to send me to find out just how many locked room mystery crime novels there could be. I just looked it up and there are many more locked room mysteries than I thought there would be, John Dickson Carr or Carter Dickson, it ...more
Even though this was not a long book, I took my time with it. I love locked room mystery novels and I had notes and highlights all through the version of the Kindle book that I own.

Written in 1908, "The Mystery of the Yellow Room" is one of the first locked room mystery crime novels. The same man who wrote this, also wrote "Phantom of the Opera". He would go back and write a sequel to "The Mystery of the Yellow Room", "The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Joseph Rouletabille #2) that was published
Moonlight Reader
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The moon was shining brightly and I saw clearly that no one had touched the window. Not only were the bars that protect it intact, but the blinds inside of them were drawn, as I had myself drawn them early in the evening, as I did every day, though Mademoiselle, knowing that I was tired from the heavy work I had been doing, had begged me not to trouble myself, but leave her to do it; and they were just as I had left them, fastened with an iron catch on the inside. The assassin, therefore, could ...more
I wanted to read this because it's one of the first locked-room mysteries: A woman was found attacked in her room, but the door was locked from the inside and there was no way for the attacker to escape. The investigation takes many twists and turns and the ending is difficult to guess. It was also interesting to see how other crime and mystery writers were influenced by Leroux's work.
3 Stars

Gaston Leroux is best known for writing The Phantom of the Opera. Apparently he also wrote detective fiction, and his character of Joseph Rouletabille is to France what Sherlock Holmes is to England.

I'll get the comparisons to Sherlock Holmes out of the way first. It is inevitable that the two are compared. Since A Study in Scarlet was first published in 1887 and The Mystery of the Yellow Room was not published until 1907, it is clear who came up with the idea first. I have no idea
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Gaston Leroux is of course best known as the author of Phantom of the Opera but he was actually quite prolific. He write quite a few mysteries, the most famous being The Mystery of the Yellow Room.

This is the book that introduces his detective Rouletabille, and an interesting sleuth he is too. He is in fact a newspaper reporter rather than a detective as such but as a crime-solver he is second to none. The most interesting thing about him though is that he is just 18 years old. He’s a boy genius
Seems everyone knows that Gaston Leroux wrote The Phantom of the Opera; even those who haven't heard the author's name recognizes the title of the book thanks to the growing popularity over the years, the constant stage presence, etc. Unfortunately Andrew Lloyd Weber didn't adapt Leroux's detective fiction into a musical so they're not as common.

The first of his mysteries was this one published serially in 1907. Arthur Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes - Gaston Leroux had Joseph Rouletabille.
DeAnna Knippling
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A young woman is found attacked and bleeding, while locked in an impenetrable room: door locked, windows barred. Who attacked her and how? Only the brilliant Rouletabille can solve the crime!

I hadn't realized this, but it turns out the author of The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux, was the Arthur Conan Doyle of France, writing a bajillion mysteries and other pulp novels. This is very readable. I had the mystery from early on--and then got completely talked out of my theory, spending the rest
Elena Santangelo
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I wanted to read this because I knew the book had influenced Agatha Christie. I now see why it influenced her--it was a more definite locked room mystery than, say, Poe's Murder in the Rue Morgue. Yet, I can also understand that when Christie said she started writing mysteries because she thought she could do a better job than many of the books she'd read--Yellow Room was likely one of the books she meant. I presume it was written originally as a serial novel, as so many were in the 19th ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: france, kindle
Yet another locked room mystery. I'm just not very good at figuring these out, so I'm easily entertained. I did have some suspicions about parts of it, but even those were not quite on target.

In this first of the series, Rouletabille is an 18-year old journalist assigned to the case. His real name is not Rouletabille, but men have a penchant for giving people nicknames by which they are forever known. I am unable to find a translation for this word, but he was given it because his head is round

There's nothing I like more than a good locked room mystery and this one fit the bill perfectly with a mysterious assassination attempt, intriguing clues and red herrings aplenty to keep the pages turning. The final reveal came as a complete surprise to me even though I had thought I'd worked it all out.

Buddy read with Kim :-).
Renee M
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Positively swimming with red herring. But also liberally peppered with genuine clues. And a few things you couldn't possibly see coming. I had a great time with this, and thoroughly enjoyed the young French genius/journalist/amateur detective.
Brenda H
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1900s-published
The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux was really kicking my butt and it took forever to finish this book as it just did not hold my interest. The crime is interesting (an attempted murder in a locked room) but the characters are incredibly annoying and arrogant (not the charmingly, over-the-top arrogance of Poirot!) and the writing style kept taking me out of the story. I've found that books written around this period (late 1800s/early 1900s) have a way of doing dialogue that I really ...more
Maria Carmo
It is the first time I read this thriller and I really enjoyed its rhythm, the strength of the main characters and the old minded, but still enchanting, mentality of the characters. About Joseph Rouletabile, one can say he is at the same time endearing, irritating and yet quite interesting detective! With his "good circle of reason" he surpasses many other detectives in thrllers...
Definitely a good read!

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon, 2 December 2019.
Brendan Hodge
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-great-war
This was recommended by a friend when I was looking for books written and set right before the Great War, so I went into it knowing nothing other than that it was written by the author of Phantom of the Opera (which I haven't read) and that it was a mystery published in 1908 and set in the 1890s. I'm no the hugest mystery reader, but I enjoy them, and this was certainly an interesting specimen.

The mystery is of the locked room variety. The basic set up is as follows: A scientist and his
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, mysteries
There is something contrived about a locked room mystery. A crime has been committed, but it seems impossible as the criminal could not have escaped. And yet Mlle Stangerson lies bleeding and at the edge of death.

Gaston Laroux, who is perhaps better known for The Phantom of the Opera, was a journalist who was well acquainted with criminal cases. In The Mystery Of The Yellow Room, his hero is an eighteen-year-old journalist who goes by the name of Joseph Rouletabille who inserts himself into the
First of all, this was a decent mystery and not a badly written book, it just wasn't for me.
In theory, I should have liked it, but the long interlinked sentences disturbed the flow, the attempts of humor didn't work for me and the characters had a lot of potential that wasn't utilized enough for me.
Maybe it's because this is a pretty old murder mystery and I have read some of these already, that this didn't offer much to me. When used to Sherlock Holmes and the works of Agathe Christie, the
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Gaston Leroux had written two books which successfully make him an immortal in the world of literature: The Phantom of the Opera and this one, The Mystery of the Yellow Room.

The Mystery of the Yellow Room is a classic in the realm of old schooled detective and mystery literature. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot twist of this book, and this plot twist alone deserves 5 full stars, but the story itself and its characters really aren't all that brilliant. I don't love this book as much as I
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Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux was a French journalist and author of detective fiction.

In the English-speaking world, he is best known for writing the novel The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, 1910), which has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name, such as the 1925 film starring Lon Chaney, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical. It was also the basis of the

Other books in the series

Joseph Rouletabille (8 books)
  • Le parfum de la dame en noir
  • The Secret of the Night
  • Le château noir
  • Les étranges noces de Rouletabille
  • Die Hölle an der Ruhr: Rouletabille bei Krupp
  • Le crime de Rouletabille
  • Rouletabille chez les Bohémiens
“Le presbytère n'a rien perdu de son charme, ni le jardin de son éclat.” 7 likes
“We have started!" said the examining magistrate, surprised at seeing us still in the carriage. "Yes, Monsieur,---truth has started," said Rouletabile, smiling amiably,---” 0 likes
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